Sunday, June 10, 2012
Ray Bradbury: Returned to the Dust
Ray Bradbury has joined giants Asimov and Clarke in the sci-fi netherworld, leaving giant shoes for the rest of us to fill. Known mainly for writing short stories, Bradbury had a passion for literature. He did what it took to get published, and he changed everything.
His works tend to be more "well-written" than "sci-fi." He loved exploring the human condition, and sci-fi happened to be the backdrop of his stories. As such, he is often the main sci-fi author included in high school English classes.
The prophetic Fahrenheit 451 teaches us the value of books and opposing viewpoints. He warns of a time when undesired thoughts are burned. With today's political correctness movement gaining more ground and more controversial speakers are being silenced, it appears that we are well on the way down this path. Start memorizing those books!
In The Martian Chronicles, we earthlings kill off the "aborigines" and colonize Mars just in time to see us destroy Earth. Near the end a father asks his son, "Want to see a Martian?" He takes him on a walk and shows him their reflection.
Dandelion Wine provides a summer of fun. Do you know anyone who actually tried to build a Happiness Machine?
Something Wicked This Way Comes teaches us not to trust anything that's too good to be true. And, oh, to be young again!
I Sing the Body Electric reminds me of the grandmother I used to have. I miss her.
I remember back to when Bradbury visited BYU in the late 80s or early 90s. It was exciting to be so close to the legend. He was told not to curse, but he still let a few slip out, triggering laughter from the audience.
Bradbury was undeniably one of the most valiant authors when it comes to getting works published. He is the main inspiration behind the "Write One Submit One" initiative, where writers push forward in an effort to write one short story a week (or month) and send it out. Here's Ray Bradbury on his persistence:
... and Bradbury kept on writing, even up until just recently. His last novel, Farewell Summer, the sequel to Dandelion Wine, was published in 2006, and he had written several short stories after that.
Ray Bradbury was an inspiration, both in his words, and in his example. He'll be greatly missed, and always remembered.